Hunting takes us to remote locations where we’re responsible for our own well-being and satisfaction.
You’ll enjoy the experience more if you’re confident you can care for yourself and those with you if bad things happen. Whether you’re hunting the back 40 for whitetails or rugged mountains for elk, always pack a first-aid kit.
Let’s discuss which items to pack into a portable kit to give you the peace of mind that frees you to hunt harder because you’re ready for anything.
Nobody plans to get lost, but it can happen to the best of us. If you get turned around, stop to build a fire. You can then stay warm, dry your clothes, and mentally regroup so you can devise a plan to get home. All that requires a reliable fire-starter.
Always carry at least two ways to ignite a flame. Matches and lighters are the top tools for this job. Some lighters cost less than $1, and they’re the size of a pack of gum. Matches provide good backups if your lighters run out of fluid or extreme cold makes them difficult to light.
Still, don’t forget your fire-starter! In wet conditions, all the matches and lighters in your pack might not finish the job. Fire-starters help ignite the first flame for drying kindling, moss and other flammable fuels to warm you all night.
An emergency bivvy packs into a pouch smaller than a set of gutting gloves, and can keep you warm if you must spend unexpected time in the woods. A bivvy retains head-to-toe heat, and can prevent hypothermia.
Hunters can cut themselves in many ways every time they enter the woods. It’s vital that you stop bleeding quickly whenever dealing with severe wounds. Clotting sponges help blood clot to slow bleeding, while a belt, shoelaces or compression wrap can make a tourniquet.
Staying hydrated is arguably the most important key to survival. Nearly all water sources must be purified before drinking from them, so purification tablets are smart additions to first-aid kits. They weigh mere ounces and take up little space, but can be the difference between drinking safely from ponds and streams or getting so sick you’ll worsen already bad situations.
Aspirin relieves pain when you need it most. Even if the situation isn’t dire, relieving a headache does wonders for your attitude and mental well-being. To save space, empty aspirin tablets from their container and put them in a small, sealable bag. Stuff this bag inside your compression wrap so you don’t lose them and always know where to find them.
A pliers and knife are great additions to any kit. Multi-tools make every task easier, so find a model with many attachments that fold into a compact size. It’s worth its space in your pack.
A device like the Garmin InReach keeps you in touch with loved ones while serving as a GPS unit for navigating remote areas. The InReach also has a SOS feature for emergencies requiring immediate help.
These tools provide much more than simple utility. They could save your life. Yes, the odds of getting into dire predicaments are slim, but being prepared with the right tools for every task gives hunters the reassurance to push deeper into remote areas for longer hunts while getting the most from their time afield.